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There's an old wartime saying that "there are no atheists in foxholes." As a committed unbeliever - I see no evidence of a controlling power or higher creator, I have nevertheless found myself praying to "whatever" in dire situations over which I have no control ... More so for others than myself. Perhaps it helps to focus, perhaps it's resignation, perhaps it's insurance? Have others found themselves in the same position? Thoughts?

By committolife4
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It's kind of like talking to the dice in a craps game. Attempting to extend our internal selves into inanimate objects is a very human response. A theist could ask their god to influence the dice or we might resort to a lucky charm to do the job. No atheists in foxholes? How about nobody in a foxhole hoping to get hit? Hope takes many forms. Some hopes are pretty silly in form but somehow logically appealing to the believer.

Dwight Level 7 Jan 8, 2018

I did once about 20 years ago when my wife was in critical condition. It takes time for old habits to subside and die.

gearl Level 7 Jan 8, 2018

religious people don't need foxholes as god will choose their destiny and they're going to a better place. ill stick with avoiding danger


This adage is nothing more than a desperate plea by the religious. There's actually an organization called Atheists in Foxholes to give visibility to one of the majority populations in the military in spite of the ridiculous notion that we don't exist.

Marz Level 7 Jan 7, 2018

There was someone on this site who was in the Marines and knew what it was like to be in that position. He never uttered those religious words in that foxhole.


I think it is a lingering childlike quality for adults to appeal to someone more powerful/capable than them to help them through a difficult/hopeless situation. The most powerful they can think of being a god. I do not blame them nor look down on them. Sad that they find themselves in such a pickle.


Perhaps the "whatever " is your minds inner "self" or "voice" my inner self reflects, I don't consider it to be "prayer". When I have 5000sq ft of concrete to pour and it's 100 degrees and I'm short handed, I find myself "praying" to inner self, "ok tim,focus,get the guys moving an doing." It's a very stressful and physical process to say the least. And yes, I think it helps comfort me.

Nemosson Level 6 Jan 7, 2018

Yes there are. People just go back to whatever sayings or comforts they are familiar with. When I see something bad happen sometimes I will say "Oh my God!". It doesn't mean I have a shrine at my house with a cross on it.


I once did, since then the more dire the circumstances the less time I have to worry about a magic genie commuting to the rescue. When it comes to life and death situations I'm much more worried about doing what it takes to resolve the situation than stopping to take time for anything else. The atheist is foxhole is simply a catchy sounding cheeky myth.


My mother was having a knee replacement, so they were testing her heart for the anesthesia the day before. My sister texted me that my mother was being kept over night and they may not do the surgery due to some complication with her heart and that they had found something. Later that day, I begged her Gods for her on her behalf. I didn't believe. I told them I didn't believe but that she did. Turns out her ekg was just irregular so they wanted to monitor it for longer. I didn't pray when I was told I was being deployed. I didn't pray when I was loading 210 rounds into magazines in the pale dawn on a runway in the desert. I've never prayed for myself. I have a deal with the universe and am comfortable with that. It knows everything I've ever done and everything that lead me to it and it will judge me accordingly. My mom though... She's the only one I will call to the old gods for.

DJVJ311 Level 7 Jan 7, 2018

I have been in foxholes, there are plenty of atheists in them. But the primitive core of our being will cry out when under duress, and we are programmed by our upbringing that there is a god and under stressful or extreme conditions might cry out using that name. Like "oh god" when aroused. I was rear ended this fall, and the first thing out of my mouth was "jesus" which was followed by an unspoken "f**king christ. That wasn't a prayer and I try not to say that phrase out loud. Last winter I discovered I swear in German, my car went into a slide on ice and as I got closer to the bumper of the car in front of me I was saying "oh shit" in German. Its been 30 years since I was in Germany! It is a fluke of the subconscious programmed into us by previous life experiences.


I haven't been in life or death situations. It didn't occur to me to to even think about it when I went skydiving.

However, when I hear that somebody won the lottery in Louisiana the day I bought a ticket, I'll say out loud "Please please let it be me!!!!!" Is that a prayer to the universe? To the lotto numbers themselves? LOL.

BlueWave Level 8 Jan 7, 2018

sure when things are getting terrifying. what can it hurt? and it might help you calm down

btroje Level 9 Jan 7, 2018
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